The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Athabascan was too strong late for his rivals in the 2023 Colin Stephen Quality enjoying a lovely victory ahead of potential Group 1 $8.41 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
The horse is unlikely to be put on the quick back-up into Saturday week’s Group 1 $750,000 The Metropolitan (2500m), with trainer John O’Shea instead naming the 2023 Melbourne Cup as the horse’s long-term target this campaign.
The Almanzor five-year-old made it two-from-two with the French-bred stayer having come off a good 2.44 length Listed Tatts Cup (2400m) win at Randwick on September 2.
He was again ridden by Tom Sherry up in grade at Rosehill for the Group 3 $250,000 Colin Stephen Quality (2400m) and was excellent sailing right down the outside to run over the top of them the closing stages.
It was a lovely return to form for the European import who had a disappointing autumn but got the last crack at them today in the Colin Stephen Quality thanks to a perfectly-timed ride by Sherry.
Wide out Athabascan ($4.20) swamped them and got up to nail the fast-finishing Chris Waller-trained Al Aabir ($3.80F) who got the inside run 100m out from the line but just didn’t have the same powerful finish as the winner to go down narrowly as the beaten favourite.
The fellow Waller-trained Desert Icon ($9) rounded out the Colin Stephen Quality trifecta in third, while the front-runner Sir Lucan ($18) held four fourth.
The 2023 The Metropolitan on Epsom Handicap Day at Randwick was originally thought to be on the cards for Athabascan who would be out to double for the first time since Railings (2005).
All-in The Metropolitan odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au have him in from $11 to $8 sitting second in the markets only to last weekend’s Group 3 Kingston Town Classic winner Just Fine ($2.30) for the Waterhouse/Bott stable.
O’Shea however ruled out The Metropolitan instead naming the Group 3 $500,000 The Bart Cummings (2510m) at Flemington on October 7 as the next-up target.
“He’ll go to the Bart Cummings, we want a ticket into the big one (Melbourne Cup) so he’s a young stayer that’s right at the top of his game and will take a power of beating in a couple of weeks,” O’Shea told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“He’ll relish that, you seen him there today he never touched the bridle, he’s got a great turn of speed. He’s got 51 (kgs) I think in the Cup, we’ve just got to get him in there.”
Athabascan is at $51 for the world’s richest two-mile handicap on Tuesday the 7th of November with the latest all-in 2023 Melbourne Cup betting markets available by clicking here thanks to Ladbrokes.com.au.
2023 Colin Stephen Quality Results & Finishing Order
|1||6||ATHABASCAN (FR)||John O’Shea||Tom Sherry||6||55kg||$4.20|
|2||7||AL AABIR (IRE)||Chris Waller||Joao Moreira||0.31L||5||54.5kg||$3.80F|
|3||2||DESERT ICON (FR)||Chris Waller||Ryan Moore||0.6L||10||58.5kg||$9|
|4||3||SIR LUCAN (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Regan Bayliss||0.96L||3||58.5kg||$18|
|5||12||LITTLE MIX||Annabel Neasham||Kerrin McEvoy||2.15L||4||53kg||$19|
|6||4||FANCY MAN (IRE)||Annabel Neasham||Adam Hyeronimus||3.35L||9||57.5kg||$21|
|7||11||OUTLANDOS||John Sargent||Ms Rachel King||3.54L||7||53kg||$17|
|8||1||ALEGRON||James Cummings||Nash Rawiller||4.85L||12||59kg||$14|
|9||9||VERONA (NZ)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Zac Lloyd (a)||6.47L||8||53kg||$3.90|
|10||5||TRUE MARVEL (FR)||Matthew Smith||Ms Kathy O’Hara||6.52L||2||56kg||$101|
|11||10||FAY’S ANGELS||Karen Owen||Ms Madeline Owen (a)||7L||1||53kg||$151|
|12||8||SOUTHERN FRANCE (IRE)||Matthew Smith||Dylan Gibbons (a)||16.63L||11||54.5kg||$151|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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